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So, I thought I would share a little incident I had the other day. My Aunt lives both in Ohio and Florida; as many retired individuals do. She has a 2001 Toyota Avalon that needed brake work last time she was up here (before it got below 60F in Ohio last fall), I directed her to a local independent mechanic that I have worked with for many years. Everything worked out fine; the rotors and pads were replaced. She drove on them all of the way down to Florida and has driven on them all winter. She does not know any mechanics in Florida so she took it to a Toyota dealership for an oil change. Now get this they tell her that she needs her brakes done and that they are very unsafe, she comes back saying that they were just done in Ohio recently. The dealership told here that they put the rotors on backwards and that they needed replaced immediately, that she would need to sign a waver if she left and did not get the work done! She bit and had the brakes redone and is now saying that vehicles should only be taken to the dealers for work. Just to let people know she lives in a town down there that rhymes with DEnglewood.

Now I’m am an aspiring shade tree at best, but how could they have put the rotors on backwards?

Sorry guys about the griping post. I usually hate them, too. I just think they took advantage of her because she is a little old widow.

I don’t think rotors are directional. If they were, how could you use your brakes in reverse?

Crazy. How did the calipers and wheels even fit with the rotors on backwards?!

I’m pretty sure he meant backwards…not on the wrong wheel…of course they aren’t directional.

No idea. The shop in Ohio I had her take it to is quite reputable. I have known them for a long time and they regularly get Christmas baskets and such on holidays from me. One of there employees was an instructor of metals shop at the high school I went too (taught me how to weld, mill, ect.) and at a local university. I am pretty sure they wouldn’t try to pull one over on me.

Either someone at the dealer was flat out lying or something is being lost in the translation.
Regarding the latter, maybe the aunt misunderstood what was being related or the service writer was misinterpreting what the tech had told him (common problem there).

This sounds like your typical sleaze dealership that’s using scare tactics to on the old and uninformed. In her case the dealer did EXACTLY what they wanted to do. They got her to pay for probably unnecessary work and now she won’t go to any other place but them.

While I would like to believe that it was what OK suggested, I really agree with you Mike. While getting the brakes done in Ohio, they changed the oil too. She religiously has the oil changed every 3k. I can’t imagine any reason for the brakes to go out that fast, but not die on the way south through the mountains in VW.

It’s unfortunate that she did not call you before proceeding with the work at the Toyota dealer so you could question your independent mechanic. He might have been able to tell you that the rotors would not fit backwards or that the fronts would or would not fit on the rear and vice versa. That has been true for the few rotors that I have changed at home with other brands; fronts won’t install backwards. Furthermore, if the car braked properly then who is to say that rotors installed backwards are a problem?

You might want to verify some of these things and then write a letter of complaint to the dealer asking for a partial refund for scamming your mother or else provide a detailed explanation for his actions. Include a copy to the local BBB and to whatever Toyota office you can find. Find a TV station in the area with a scam artist chaser and get them in the loop if the dealers explanation is bogus fast talk or if the dealer does not reply.

It takes a lot of energy to get satisfaction, doesn’t it? I’d feel rotten too if my mother was cheated out of hundreds of dollars. If she has the bucks, then let it go.

Maybe she should ask her friends in Florida where they take their cars for service. Surely there are some Gentlemen who would be pleased to help a damsel in distress.

Without knowing any details as to what transpired I find it ridiculous that this dealer is being painted as a thief.
Can brakes screw up between the fall of '07 and April of '08? Sure they can and as a matter of fact, a new brake job can go to hxxx in a handbasket in 24 hours if something is incorrectly done.

Some points to consider. A northern Ohio rust belt car with an unknown number of miles so what about sticking caliper slides (which should have been serviced with the brakes), stuck caliper, etc. What about a hanging master cylinder piston? When was the brake fluid last flushed; if ever?

Consider this example. Guy comes into our dealer and does not like the price quote on a front brake job (the brakes were flat gone). He chose to go 2 blocks down the street to a now defunct chain store and get the brakes done. Three days later he showed back up at our dealership and was awaiting the tow truck to haul his car in; it had been seriously botched by the other store.
It cost this guy quadruple the original quote because the other shop managed to bend the caliper yoke on one wheel, ruin the caliper, bent the tie rod, and tweaked the cast iron steering knuckle. How on earth they managed to tweak the latter I will never, ever know.

Another example? New SAAB in for a 5k mile service and of course the car is flawless with 99% of the brakes left. At the 8k mile mark it came in on the wrecker with the RF brakes absolutely trashed due to a stuck caliper. In this case, it was not dirt or corrosion; a large rat had gotten caught up in the slide and this froze the caliper.

There’s a simple way ot determine if the dealer in question is a crook. Check the BBB report and any local court listings. If they’re dishonest there will be a higher than normal amount of complaints and suits against them.

as a dealership mechanic i would like to throw in my 2 cents. i recently did brake work on a car that had just had a complete brake job done at a local independent shop about 3 months ago(unsure how many miles was driven). any way the pads and rotors were flat wore out meaning in 3 months the new pads had completely worn down to the meatl and had the rotors chewed up pretty good. what i found was the calipers did not slide freely as they should,because the mechanic who installed the pads put the pads on wrong. the pad that was to go on the outside of the rotor was on the inside and vice versa. some cars either pad will fit and work on outside or inside but not on this one. 2001 Malibu if your curious.put new rotors and pads on the proper way and calipers slide properly and brakes work fine.this independent shop you speak of might be a good one the guy that owns it may be good that doesnt mean he personally works on every car that comes through the door. having said all that i to believe there may have been something lost in the translation lets face it i have customers come into the shop all the time that tell me my car is doing this or that and upon investigation learn that there very well may be a problem but they really had no clue as to what it was. i can tell you another story about the guy who had to buy a new engine for his suburban after a local independent shop changed his intake manifold gasket and didnt change the oil with all that antifreeze in it.different shop than the one who done the brakes by the way.

well said,training does make a difference,and experience,I still hate domestic cars,